REVIEW: WHITE MOTH BLACK BUTTERFLY – “Atone”
If you like your music ambient and full of soul, I believe you have come to the right place. So allow me to convince you that the 1st of September 2017 will see the release of an album so beautiful that it is going to make your mind float and fly onto a different dimension altogether.
Major forces of the Prog-world in the form of mastermind Keshav Dhar (Skyharbor) and Daniel Tompkins (Tesseract/In Color/ex-Skyharbor etc.) align to create something divine and absolutely out of this world. Not to forget Randy Slaugh who himself has been long associated with major other prog acts and Jordan Turner, laying down pure magic to create ‘Atone’.
The album is a follow up to their highly acclaimed and one of the best releases of 2014 ‘One Thousand Wings’. For those of you not aware of this act known as White Moth Black Butterfly, let me tell you that it is unlike any other prog/rock music you would have heard. Their music stands unrestrained from the chains of a specific genre and incorporates influences ranging from rock, ambient, folk to even pop music. They call themselves ‘Experimental’, which I believe is the truest definition of their sound.
The introductory track to this album is named “I Incarnate”. An ever-magical slow vocal performance by Daniel Tompkins, backed by synth and cello sounds create an atmosphere laden with nostalgia. Elation kicks in faster than realization and we land on “Rising Sun”, which was released as a single recently. It is difficult for me to put to words the beauty of this track. Listen to it for yourselves.
While one would be already mesmerized and thinking it couldn’t get any more epic, we come to “Tempest”, a song that is going to give you the goose bumps. It is a song with a huge heart, filled with a thousand emotions, a sound as deep as an ocean, as vast as the sky. The track even feels cinematic in some way I cannot explain. The beauty transcends into a very pop-esque and spacey interlude called “An Ocean away”. The same feel is continued in “Symmetry” which is a slightly longer track than its predecessor. The Vocals in the album is absolutely mesmerizing. Daniel Tompkins’s voice is such a comfort to the ears throughout the album. While it is no secret what an amazing singer he is, I have got to say there is someone else whose voice shines even brighter on this record – Jordan Turner. She absolutely nails her parts, which are integral elements to the feel and sound of the album.
Listening to the album definitely requires and certain degree of open-mindedness. For those who expect distorted guitars or varying time signatures based on the nature of the artists in this supergoup, I have bad news for them. Because they have no idea what they will be missing. Side projects like these play an important role in the life of an artist, because it’s that available space where they can experiment and nurture their creative instincts and evolve. Their evolution is apparent in their primary works and it most importantly creates awesome music for us, the listeners.
This brings us to the second section of the album with “II Penitence”, a beautiful and minimalistic nostalgic one riding on a war-torn/post-apocalyptic backdrop. “The Sage” is a track, which packs in some epic surprises. It has a surreal feel to it. Any further details on the track is going to kill it for you, so I am going to stop right here. Rest assured you will be mesmerized, nonetheless. “The Serpent” is another of the singles, which was released. It might just go down as one of the prog-pop-rock masterpieces ever created. The title track “Atone” is built on electronically dense atmospheres. It contains some of the best keyboard and synth displays on the album.
“III Deep Earth” invokes the last section of the album. Its an intense and out of world experience listening to this one. It almost feels like a ritual going on in there. Further on, “Evelyn” is the last track on the album. This track is many things in itself. It is beautiful and a perfect conclusion to the album.
Unrestrained by the modern day notions of music and genre definitions, ‘Atone’ by White Moth Black Butterfly an interplay of comforting and unsettling emotions in the form of an intense, immersive dream. It is one of the purest expressions of perseverance, loss, hope and Nostalgia.